Dad’s feelings are hurt when kids seek bio family
Dear Amy: My parents divorced when my brother and I were very young.
We never had any contact with our biological father, or with his side of the family. Our mom remarried, and our wonderful stepfather legally adopted my brother and me. Mom and “Dad” have been married for over 30 years now.
Having our “Dad” and his family in our life has been wonderful!
Although we were raised with a loving extended family, my brother and I still battled with abandonment issues. We longed for contact with our bio family.
One fateful day, when I was a teenager, I found my paternal grandmother and gave her a call. Since then we have reconnected with our father’s family, but not with our father. He is still a deadbeat.
Knowing these family members has filled a hole in us. They are loving and supportive.
Most of them still live in the state we grew up in. During our visits home, we make a point to visit with these family members, but this really bothers our “Dad.”
He knows we love him. But whenever he finds out we’re going to visit our other family, he pouts and gets sensitive, and is irritable and cold for the rest of the day.
We are to the point that we don’t want to mention visiting at all, but I don’t want to sneak around behind his back.
How can we let him know that we don’t like that he makes us feel guilty for visiting/loving our other family? Is there a way we could help him with his insecurity? — LOVING CHILDREN
Dear Loving: You should start by removing the quotation marks from your “Dad’s” status. The man who adopted you IS your father. He is legally, ethically and emotionally your father.
The so-called “Dad” in your life is the biological father who abandoned you and who refuses to see you.
You and your brother should sit down with both of your parents — in person — and be as honest, loving and respectful as you can possibly be. Tell your dad, “You are our dad, and you always will be. You will always come first for us. We know it is hard on you when we visit our biological family. Would you rather that we just never talk about it? We want to be honest with you. We don’t want to hide what we’re doing, but if that’s what you want us to do, we’ll try.”
If he responds that he doesn’t want you to see these other family members at all, you will have to tell him that this is off the table. You are adults, and you have the right to explore your biological roots, and to form your own relationships.
Dear Amy: I’m responding to the question from “Too Soon in Chi-Town,” about the couple who had met in AA and were now dating.
Your answer was OK as far as it went, but the first line of your answer should have been, “What does your sponsor think?”
— ANONYMOUS Dear Anonymous: You’re right! Thank you.
Dear Amy: I’m responding to “No Fun in Fundraising,” regarding relentless fundraising supporting schools and youth activities.
Many years ago my daughter handed me a large envelope containing a catalogue and order form for wrapping paper, handed out in her class at school.
I wrote a note on the front of the envelope in bold letters, advising the teacher that my daughter would not be pestering neighbors, friends or families with any fundraisers. — BEEN THERE Dear Been There: No Thin Mints for you!
AMY DICKINSON ASK AMY